. When a person is unable to fulfill his basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter, then he is said to be living in poverty. One of the biggest challenges of independent India has been to bring millions of its people out of poverty.
. According to facts, in India every fourth person is poor.
. Roughly 270 million (or 27 crores) People in India live in poverty (2011-12).
Two Typical Cases of Poverty (Urban Case and Rural case)
. Poverty means hunger and lack of shelter, lack of clean water and sanitation facilities, lack of a regular job at a minimum decent level.
. It is a situation in which parents are not able to send their children to school or a situation where sick people cannot afford treatment.
. Poverty is considered one of the biggest challenges of independent India. “India would be truly independent only when the poorest of its people become free of human suffering”.
Poverty as seen by social scientists
Social scientists look at poverty through a variety of indicators.
Usually, the indicators are used to relate to the levels of income and consumption.
. But, now poverty is looked at through other social indicators like illiteracy level, lack of general resistance due to malnutrition, lack of access to healthcare, lack of job opportunities, lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation, etc.
Analysis of poverty based on Social Exclusion and Vulnerability is now becoming very common.
For analysis of poverty, social exclusion is very useful. As per this concept,
poverty must be seen in terms of the poor living only in a poor surrounding with other poor people.
It is a process through which individuals or groups are excluded from facilities, Benefits, and
opportunities that others enjoy. E.g. Caste system in India.
: Vulnerability describes the greater probability of being more adversely affected than other people, which is done due to an earthquake or simply a fall in the availability of jobs.
Measurement of vulnerability to poverty describe the greater probability of certain communities i.e., members of a backward caste or individuals i.e. a widow or a physically handicapped person
. The poverty line is a method to measure poverty based on income or consumption levels. If the level of income and consumption falls below the minimum level of income and consumption of this line, then the person is considered to be poor.
. The poverty line varies according to time and place. In India, the poverty line is determined through a minimum level of food requirement, clothing, footwear, fuel and light, educational and medical requirement, etc. These physical quantities are multiplied by their prices in rupees.
. In India poverty is calculated based on the desired calorie requirement. The accepted average calorie requirement in India is 2400 calories per person per day in rural areas and 2100 calories per person per day in urban areas.
. In India, there is a substantial decline in poverty ratios from about 45 percent in 1993-94 to 37.2 percent in 2004–05. The proportion of people below the poverty line further came down to about 22 percent in 2011–12.
. Social groups, vulnerable to poverty are Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe.
. Similarly, among the economic groups, the most vulnerable groups are rural agricultural labor.
households and urban casual labor households.
. 51 out of 100 people belonging to the scheduled tribes are not able to meet their basic needs. Similarly, 50% of casual workers in Urban areas are below the poverty line. About 50% of the landless agricultural workers and 43% of scheduled caste are also poor.
. According to a recent study, except scheduled tribes, all the other three groups (i.e. scheduled castes, rural agricultural laborers, and the urban casual labor households) have seen a decline in poverty in the 1990s.
. In India, the proportion of poor people is not the same in every state. Bihar and Odisha continued to be the two poorest states with poverty ratios of 33.7 and 32.6 percent respectively.
. Urban poverty is high in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh.
. Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and West Bengal saw a decline in poverty.
. Punjab and Haryana have traditionally succeeded in reducing poverty with the help of high agricultural growth rates.
. Kerala has focused more on human resource development.
Global Poverty Scenario
In China and Southeast Asian countries, poverty declined substantially as a result of rapid economic growth and massive investments in human resource development. In Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty declined from 51 percent in 2005 to 41 percent in 2015.
Causes of Poverty
There are various reasons for widespread poverty in India.
- Under British control, India had a low level of economic development. New policies of the colonial government ruined traditional handicrafts and discouraged the development of industries. like textiles. A low rate of growth and an increase in population combined make the growth rate of per capita income very low.
- Another feature of high poverty rates has been the huge income inequalities. One of the major reasons for this is the unequal distribution of land and other resources.
- Small farmers needed money to buy agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, etc. So, they used to borrow money and were unable to repay the loan because of poverty.
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